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The Gustav Sonata (2016)

de Rose Tremain

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
6133739,017 (3.76)106
Growing up sheltered from the echoes of World War II, Gustav forges an intense relationship with a mercurial Jewish boy, Anton, a talented pianist who introduces him to the harsh realities of racism, tolerance, and cruelty during a friendship spanning half a century.
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» Mira també 106 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 37 (següent | mostra-les totes)
The Gustav Sonata was an unusual book, but one that I really enjoyed reading, in fact, I stayed up half the night to finish it.

The book is set in Switzerland, before, during, and after the Second World War. Although the book branches out to include other characters and other relationships, the focal point of the book is the friendship, since kindergarten, of Gustav, a poor boy with a dead father and a critical, selfish, anti-Semitic and hostile mother, and of Anton, a well-off Jewish boy with a loving family, who are, nonetheless, pressuring Anton to become a concert pianist despite his chronic and overpowering stage fright.

It was interesting to get a glimpse of why Switzerland remained neutral during the Second World War. The book was very good at helping the reader understand the extent of the deprivations of poverty, and the quiet luxuries of wealth. We are permitted to see into the minds of many of the book's characters, including those of Gustav's parents, and to understand what made Gustav's mother the virago that she becomes.

I liked the book very much and recommend it. ( )
  ahef1963 | May 5, 2024 |
This moving story is presented in three parts. We meet Gustav, brought up in some poverty by his indifferent mother, and Anton, who has a more privileged and cultured background, when both are five years old. The spare yet elegiac prose explores Gustav's loneliness and compassion, and how Anton's nervous disposition makes him unfit for the life his parents had hoped for him .

The back story, describing how his parents met, and how it is that Frau Perle speaks not at all of this phase of her life explains a lot and is in any case a fascinating account of aspects of Switzerland's role in the Second World War.

Finally, Gustave and Anton are older adults. Each is in his own way successful, each still involved in the life of the other, despite the different paths they have chosen. Perhaps Anton doesn't understand how deeply he and Gustav mean to one another. Until it is almost too late....

A fine, beautifully written book. I had to keep reading till I finished. ( )
  Margaret09 | Apr 15, 2024 |
This book takes the form of a sonata in a 3-parts. I found Part 1 touching and fluidly written. In it, the author introduces the main character, Gustav, and his friend Anton. They come from very different family backgrounds, but become good friends. Gustav copes with his mother’s bitterness, trying his best to please her. Anton is a child prodigy from a secure home, but cannot seem to tame his nerves for his piano recitals. Part 2 goes back in time to cover the meeting of Gustav’s parents, and attempts to describe why Gustav’s mother developed such an angry attitude. I found this part less satisfying, partially due to the author switching to present tense to cover a past time and partly due to what I felt were inconsistent actions. In Part 3, we fast-forward to Gustav and Anton from age forty to sixty. For me, this was the least satisfying part due to the huge number of missing years. Also, much of the rationale for the characters’ actions was laid between the lines. If you like stories about relationships, you may enjoy this book. From my perspective, it lacked action, and the primary character was a bit dull. I added a star for the author's fluid writing style, which I enjoyed. ( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
A dark, bleak book that takes place mainly in Switzerland between 1936-1950. In the beginning, Gustav's father in the assistant chief of police in charge of turning back German/Austrian refugees. He forges papers and is fired from his position. That being said, helping to aid refugees is about the nicest thing he ever did in his life. Everyone in the book is just miserable! This really isn't indicative of the Rose Tremain's that I have previously read. It wasn't a bad book, just "hopeless." If that was the author's intent, she accomplished it well! 272 pages ( )
  Tess_W | Oct 1, 2022 |
Gustav Perle groeit op in een Matzlingen (CH) in de jaren na WOII. Zijn vader is door en zijn moeder is een harde, ongelukkige vrou, die haar best moet doen om rond te komen en niet echt kan houden van haar zoon. Alleen bij zijn Joods klasgenootje Anton vindt hij vriendschap. Anton speelt piano en heeft muzikaal talent maar op het podium speelt de nervositeit de baas. Na een levenslange vriendschap vinden Gustav en Anton een antwoord op de vragen die hun leven getekend hebben. Goed geschreven, soms wat melancholisch verhaal ( )
  vroyen | Aug 20, 2022 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 37 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Rose Tremain is natuurlijk een schrijfster die haar sporen al lang heeft verdiend – haar literaire werk is in 29 landen uitgebracht en wordt met grote regelmaat bekroond met prijzen en prachtige recensies. Het boek Gustav & Anton past helemaal in deze traditie. Tremain weet te boeien vanaf de allereerste tot aan de allerlaatste zin, met haar prachtige schrijfstijl die zowel vlot is en prachtige, heldere beelden bij de lezer oproept is, als diepgang heeft: Rose Tremain begrijpt mensen en hun gevoelens op een diep niveau. Ze schuwt het niet om ook de lelijkheid van het leven, van ziektes, van mensen en hun onderlinge relaties te laten zien...lees verder >
 
For Gustav Perle, the protagonist of this novel, life is a matter of restraint, self-control and, above all, neutrality. “You have to be like Switzerland,” urges his mother in the opening pages...This is also a book about friendship and longing, unsentimentally told and bleakly precise...t from this tangled mess of human relations, Tremain draws a conclusion that is simultaneously straightforward and sweetly transformative. Like so much else in this compassionate and musical novel, it hits a perfect note.
 
This is a perfect novel about life’s imperfection. Gustav is a mother’s boy growing up during the second world war in Switzerland. He has had to learn to have a stiff upper lip... The narrative skill and subtlety are exemplary. Tremain does not judge – so we, inevitably, do...Tremain is anything but an indulgent writer and is, here, writing at the height of her inimitable powers. Without giving away the ending, she has the most merciful, believable and uplifting surprise in store
 
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'If anyone should importune me to give a reason
why I loved him, I feel it could not otherwise be expressed than by making the answer, "Because it was he, because it was I".

- Michel de Montaigne, On Friendship
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To the memory of Richard Simon
1932-2013
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At the age of five, Gustav Perle was certain of only one thing: he loved his mother.
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Growing up sheltered from the echoes of World War II, Gustav forges an intense relationship with a mercurial Jewish boy, Anton, a talented pianist who introduces him to the harsh realities of racism, tolerance, and cruelty during a friendship spanning half a century.

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